House debates

Monday, 22 October 2018

Statements by Members

Child Sexual Abuse

4:23 pm

Photo of Stephen JonesStephen Jones (Whitlam, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government) Share this | | Hansard source

This morning in Parliament House several hundred people from around Australia gathered to listen to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition deliver on behalf of parliament and the nation an apology to the victims of institutional child sex abuse. I was very pleased to have invited amongst them Jennifer Beer, a constituent from the Southern Highlands in my electorate. She was joined by Karen and Caddie Rees, her daughters, and Eva Klima, her granddaughter. Karen and Caddie, her daughters, were both victims of child sex abuse dating back many decades, where they were abused at the hands of their parish priest in Cooma. Caddie was less than three years of age at the time that this abuse occurred. I'm delighted that we're able to offer an apology to Karen, to Caddie and to the thousands and thousands of other victims: 6,875 survivors have had their experiences heard during the royal commission. Many of the survivors said that speaking up about what happened to them was very difficult, not a one-off event. Surprisingly, though, one in 10 of the survivors said speaking at the royal commission was the first time that they had told anyone. Congratulations to all of them. We believe you. We will do all that we can to ensure that we do not create another generation of victims.